Pre-Woke Watching

Soul Food Inspired Black Girls Like Me, but It Taught Disturbing Lessons About Men

When you watch old favorites years later, sometimes you realize how much you used to overlook. In this short video series, based on the recurring segment from Slate’s Represent podcast, viewers revisit their personal classics and evaluate how they look now.

The 1997 dramedy Soul Food follows the trials of the Joseph family, brought together by the family’s matriarch Big Mama and her, well, soul food, and torn apart when she falls into a coma.

The film inspired Slate podcast producer Veralyn Williams from a young age with its three black female leads and rare representation of a loving, three-dimensional black family. When Williams watches the movie now, however, she can’t help notice how it normalizes toxic behavior, particularly from its men. And now, she’s a little embarrassed how easily she used to blame the women and excuse the men. Above, she revisits the classic with fresh eyes.